The Islands of Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti: what you don’t know will charm you
When it comes to French Polynesia, it’s often the lesser-known gems that keep you captivated.   You can rent your own piece of paradise. Overwater bungalows might be synonymous with The Islands of Tahiti, but what say you to renting your own private patch of pristine waterfront or pitching a tent in a lush camping ground? [caption id="attachment_47130" align="alignnone" width="600"] Island days.[/caption] Dotted around some of the most spectacular parts of each island, campsites and Tahitian guesthouses (also referred to as pensions or fares) give visitors the opportunity to connect with locals and immerse themselves in traditional French Polynesian life. For a few months a year, frolicking with whales is an everyday activity [caption id="attachment_47131" align="alignnone" width="600"] Beach life.[/caption] Naturally, no visit to The Islands of Tahiti is complete without a mandatory cocktail-sipping-on-a-hammock session, or simply snorkelling their vibrant coral reefs, but the adrenaline junkies among us need not miss out. Think swimming with pods of humpback whales in Moorea between July and October (in waters so rich with marine life you’ll feel like the bay leaf in ray and reef-shark soup), then hiking the lava tubes of Tahiti, or enjoying drift dives in Rangiroa’s Tiputa Pass and Fakarava’s Tumakohua Pass. Fist-pump the air, then repeat. You can holiday on a shoestring [caption id="attachment_47132" align="alignnone" width="600"] Rivals the Great Barrier Reef.[/caption] Those without Swiss bank accounts can (and should) apply; budget-friendly accommodation, meals and activities are available on each of the islands – yes, even the fabled celebrity playground of Bora Bora. Close your eyes and picture roadside food trucks serving up the most decadent of crepes and super-fresh poisson cru, scenic island adventures courtesy of next-to-nix bicycle hire and those aforementioned campsites perfectly located by endless azure lagoons. As for those coral-fringed motus and beaches teeming with rainbow pops of tropical fish? They are proof positive that the best things in life really are free. You have a choice of festivals [caption id="attachment_47133" align="alignnone" width="600"] Once in a lifetime experiences.[/caption] Whether you’re into cycling, running, body ink or fashion, you can rest assured that somewhere, on one of the Tahiti’s stunning islands, there’s a festival that’s just right for you. Will you ink up at Tatau I Tahiti Tattonesia, take part in one of the famed Moorea Marathons or take a front-row seat at Tahiti Fashion Week? The choice is yours – just don’t miss Heiva I Tahiti, the biggest cultural event on the calendar which engulfs the islands over a month-long celebration every July. There are 118 islands [caption id="attachment_47134" align="alignnone" width="600"] Explore the unknown![/caption] While there’s no denying the difficulty of getting past the beauty of Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti, continue to push on through the shimmering lagoons and white-sand patchwork (hardly the most taxing journey you’ll ever make), and your curiosity will be rewarded with a series of remote islands loaded with largely unknown experiences. Swim with migrating humpback whales and hike majestic peaks on Rurutu, zigzag up the flanks of an extinct mountain to reach the archaeological sites of Ua Huka and opt out of society entirely by renting a private island escape on Tikehau. This really is a ‘choose your own adventure’ holiday – Tahitian-style.   For bookings and further information, visit Tahiti Tourisme at tahititourisme.com.au.
Samoa To Sua ocean Trench
Explore Samoa three ways: for couples, families and adventurers
With its rugged beauty and vibrant, 3000-year-old culture, this South Pacific island paradise packs enough punch to have something for everyone. Long known for its pristine beaches, rainforest-covered volcanic mountains and fringing coral reef, Samoa’s 10 postcard-perfect islands offer a multitude of experiences for every kind of traveller – often in vastly different environments. Samoa for families Forget the old school ‘drop and flop’; the beauty of Mother Nature’s playground will turn the youngest of travellers into New World explorers, whether its swimming with turtles in the peaceful waters of a lagoon, enjoying the natural waterslides at Papaseea Sliding Rocks or playing a spot of kilikti (Samoan cricket) with the local kids. [caption id="attachment_46500" align="alignnone" width="600"] Samoa offer fun for the whole family.[/caption] Will they find buried treasure among the lush jungles surrounding your resort? Will they come across pirates in the watering holes in which they play? Get their hearts racing and imaginations ignited by visiting the restored colonial homestead-turned museum of Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of much-loved children’s book, Treasure Island. It could provide the inspiration for a trip of a lifetime. Samoa for lovers Dreaming of reconnecting with your partner (or celebrating your honeymoon) away from the hustle and bustle of the summertime crowds? Picture a frangipani-scented paradise filled with deserted beaches (perfect for that picnic for two) and azure water holes where your only company is the odd rainbow pop of tropical fish. Out here, it’s just you, your partner and a magical backdrop made for romance. [caption id="attachment_46501" align="alignnone" width="600"] A picture-perfect romantic escape[/caption] If you can force yourself to leave your over-water bungalow (and yes, it can be a struggle), navigating the winding jungle trails through emerald forests hand-in-hand should make the list – but only if it’s bookmarked by a fresh seafood lunch and a relaxing Samoan massage. And repeat. Samoa for adventurers Bust out your inner Indiana Jones and give yourself over to the thrill of conquering a wild landscape filled with lush jungles on steep volcanoes, cascading waterfalls and mysterious lava caves begging for exploration.   There’s nothing to suggest one need turn their holiday into a caffeinated drink commercial; those looking for ‘action lite’ can enjoy an afternoon of kayaking with turtles, touring the islands by bicycle or taking an organised snorkel trip. Others may prefer diving her coral reef, surfing her breaks or hiking three kilometers through dense rainforest up to Volcanic Crater Lake. [caption id="attachment_46504" align="alignnone" width="600"] Conquer your fear of heights in lush tropical surrounds.[/caption] Whatever you do, just don’t miss experiencing the Falealupo Canopy Walk in Savaii, a thrilling walkway 40 metres above the rainforest floor among giant Banyan trees. It’s a Samoan highlight.   For more information visit www.samoa.travel
Beautiful Tahiti
Islands of Tahiti: what you don’t know will charm you
When it comes to French Polynesia, it’s often these little-known gems that captivate the seasoned traveller.  The Islands of Tahiti are pure perfection. Over-water bungalows might be synonymous with the Islands of Tahiti, but what do you say to renting your own private patch of pristine waterfront or pitching a tent in a lush camping ground? Dotted around some of the most spectacular parts of each island, campsites and Tahitian guesthouses (also referred to pensions or fares) gift visitors the opportunity to connect with locals and immerse themselves in traditional French Polynesia life. [caption id="attachment_46539" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Tahiti Islands has beach life down to a fine art.[/caption] Frolicking with whales is an everyday activity No visit to the Islands of Tahiti is complete with a mandatory cocktail-sipping-on-a-hammock session, or snorkelling vibrant coral reefs, but the adrenaline junkies among us need not miss out. Why not swim with pods of humpback whales in Moorea (in waters so rich with marine life you’ll feel like the bay leaf in ray and black-tip reef shark soup), hike the lava tubes of Tahiti and enjoy drift dives in Rangiroa’s Tiputa Pass and Fakarava’s Tumakohua Pass?  Fist pump the air and repeat. [caption id="attachment_46540" align="alignnone" width="600"] Crystal clear views from above.[/caption] You can holiday on a shoestring Those without Swiss bank accounts can (and should) apply; budget-friendly accommodation, meals and activities are available on each of the islands – yes, even the fabled celebrity playground of Bora Bora. Close your eyes and picture roadside food trucks serving up the most decadent of crepes and super-fresh poisson cru, scenic island adventures courtesy of next-to-nix bicycle hire and those aforementioned campsites perfectly located by endless azure lagoon. As for those coral-fringed motus and beaches teeming with rainbow pops of tropical fish? The best things in life really are free. [caption id="attachment_46541" align="alignnone" width="600"] Unlike anywhere else.[/caption] You have a choice of festivals Whether you’re into cycling, running, tattoos or fashion, you can rest assured that somewhere, on one of the Tahiti’s stunning islands, there’s a festival that’s just right for you. Will you ink up at Tatau I Tahiti Tattonesia, take part in one of the Moorea Marathon or take a front row seat at Tahiti Fashion Week? The choice is yours – just don’t miss Heiva I Tahiti, the biggest cultural event on the calendar which engulfs the islands over a month-long celebration every July. There are 118 islands While there’s no denying the difficulty that is getting past the beauty of Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti, continue to push on through the vibrant lagoons and white sand patchwork (hardly the most taxing journey you’ll ever make), and your curiosity will be rewarded with a series of remote islands loaded with largely unknown experiences. [caption id="attachment_46542" align="alignnone" width="600"] Like an aquarium, without the glass.[/caption] Swim with migrating humpback whales and hike majestic peaks in Rurutu, zigzag up the flanks of an extinct mountain to reach the archaeological sites of Ua Huka and opt out of society entirely by renting a private island escape on Tikehau. This really is a ‘choose your own adventure’ holiday – Tahitian-style. [caption id="attachment_46544" align="alignnone" width="600"] Sneak peak![/caption] For books and further information, visit Tahiti Tourisme.
7 reasons why Fiji really is paradise
The islands of Fiji are a perennial favourite with Australian holidaymakers, who are lured back time and time again by the sybaritic pleasure of this Pacific nation. And as if the beaches and the smiling, welcoming people aren’t reason enough to head there (again), here are a few extra reasons why Fiji is paradise on Earth.
6 must see tropical treasures of Samoa that won’t stay a secret for much longer
Samoa is the ultimate paradise island full of tropical wonders and luckily remains relatively untouched. Head off to explore the Pacific gem before it gets too crowded, and be sure to include these places on your itinerary.   Samoa, a nation made up of two main islands in the Pacific Ocean, is the definition of a tropical escape. The destinations are gorgeous, the people are sweet and the vibe is chilled. Under 130,000 people visit the small island nation each year, as opposed to the almost 800,000 who jet off to Fiji.   So, if you’re the type of person who likes a little more room around you on the beach, an incredibly local experience in a diner and pure peace and quite everywhere you go, then Samoa is for you. But get in quick, because the islands are only getting busier!   Now, before you screenshot the below list of hidden treasures across the main islands of Savai’i and Upolu, just remember a few things 1.You need a car to get around – as there aren’t that many hire cars on the island we recommend pre-booking 2.Don’t rely on the internet – sharpen up those map reading skills 3.It’s all about cash, cash, cash – fill up those pockets   [caption id="attachment_42809" align="alignleft" width="1500"] Falealupo Western Tip, Savai’i[/caption] Afu Aau waterfall, Savai’i Living up to its tropical nature, Samoa is full of spectacular waterfalls that provide for the most refreshing mid-day dips. Along with Togitogiga, Afu Aau is one of the most popular dipping destinations on the islands, and rightly so. The spring water is so clear and crisp that it will probably be a minute or two before you immerse yourself fully, but once you do, you’ll float in it for hours. You’ll be stopped at a fale (thatched hut) on the dirt road leading to the waterfall and asked to pay the $5 tala (approximately $2.50) fee. Sacred Heart church, Savai’i Samoans put strong value in religion and family. Located in Safotu village, Sacred Heart is one of the largest churches on the island of Savai’i that also serves as a school. Its vibrant nature is exactly that of the beautiful Samoan people. There is no entry fee to have a look around but note that during school hours you aren’t able to enter the grounds. Falealupo western tip, Savai’i Among many things, one great aspect of travelling around the island of Savai’i is that there is a very low chance you’ll ever get lost. There is only one main road that gets you around the island and all your pit stops are along this road.   Once you start to reach the western tip of Savai’i, your route escapes into thick, luscious rainforest that truly ignites your visual senses. Along the road you’ll pass the Se’eti Beach Fales which are a must-pit-stop for a quick dip and tan, before you jump back and continue along the incredible route. If you fall in love with the pit stop however, don’t worry you can actually stay in the fales overnight! Lefagaoali’i village pools, Savai’i Ever wanted to take a dip in a rock pool without having fifty people chatting and splashing around you? The Lefagaoali’i village pools in Savai’i are the perfect park spot for uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. They are like no other rock pools you’ve ever experienced and much of the time, they’ll be all yours to enjoy! Entry is $10 tala per vehicle and $2 tala per person for a dip. Just note there are separate female and male pools. Aganoa Black Sand Beach, Upolu A long, open stretch of soft sand on the coast of the Pacific, with not a soul in sight? Yes please! Aganoa Black Sand Beach tickles your curiosity and doesn’t disappoint once you arrive. The sand is really black and the beach is really magnificent.   The best bit though; in the late afternoon you’ll usually get the whole beach to yourself. You’ll be greeted by villagers under a fale at the start of the dirt road that leads to the beach. Entry fee is $10 tala per vehicle. Tu Sua Ocean Trench, Upolu There are no words to describe this wonder of the world. Tu Sua Ocean Trench is quickly starting to make waves in the world of Instagram, and rightly so. Once you build up the courage to climb down the wooden ladder on the side of the trench, you’ll never want to leave this place.   Make sure you get there early to avoid a crowd and get a good photo. Entry is $20 tala per person and it is so damn worth it!
Four legitimate reasons to visit Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Sun, sand, surf - and still surprisingly mostly untouched...
Immerse yourself in a whole new cruising experience
A night here, a day there… to some, a cruising experience might appear to simply skim the surface of your destination. But there’s no need to stay in the shallows; it’s time to immerse yourself in a whole new world of experience.
Five amazing Tahitian islands you need to know about
The Islands of Tahiti are where paradisiacal stereotypes are met and exceeded, and the best way to see it all is by island-hopping across this collection of atolls and archipelagos, scattered like confetti in the South Pacific. Tahiti – Ready, set, go The largest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti is your starting point from which to flit from island to island (flights arriving into the capital of Papeete from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne). Linger here for a day or so to discover a lively social and cultural scene, with great food, colourful markets, dramatic black sand beaches and a lush tropical landscape to explore. Rangiroa – endless bliss Translating to ‘endless skies’, Rangiroa is the second largest atoll in the world, so its allures are myriad. The spectacular blue waters offer up some of the best diving in the world. Whether you are a seasoned diver looking for challenging dive spots or you simply wish to explore the lagoon, passes and reefs, you will find an underwater world of colour and beauty populated by abundant marine wildlife, from swarming schools of vibrant fish to turtles to dolphins and sharks. Settle in to a bungalow at Les Relais de Joséphine for a true local experience. Huahine – local charm While much about a Tahitian Islands experience is restive, Huahine is the perfect choice for those looking for a little more activity, with something for everyone. Book into the small pension of Fare Maeva, and then strike out to experience everything on offer. The stunning natural landscape is ideal for trekking, hiking and horse-back riding in, or visitors can tour a local pearl farm to see how Tahitian pearls, revered around the world for their elegance, are harvested. And, of course, the water always beckons, with snorkelling and deep sea fishing. Raiatea – heaven sent It is a quick 45-minute plane trip from Tahiti to Raiatea, another lush, idyllic proposition of endless sun and sand. Make the charming Raiatea Lodge Hotel your base, before heading out to gain a deeper understanding of the proud heritage of these spectacular islands. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Taputapuatea marae, an ancient sacred site estimated to be thousands of years old, is where islanders arranged hundreds of stones they believed held Mana, a mystical source of spiritual strength that has soothed the islands for millennia. Taha’a – water world On the island paradise of Taha’a, 20 short minutes by boat from Raiatea, the world melts away completely. Time is meted by the rising sun and spectacular sunsets. Here you can snorkel in a coral garden in the pristine lagoon to discover a kaleidoscopic underwater world, and spend some time at a vanilla plantation to see how plump Tahitian vanilla pods full of sweet inky-black beans are painstakingly cultivated. For bookings and further information, visit Tahiti Tourisme at tahititourisme.com.au.  
The pristine beach at Royal Davui, Fiji.
How to see Fiji on any budget
No matter how much you have to spend, there's an incredible experience waiting for you...
Huahine, French Polynesia.
Why you need to visit Huahine, French Polynesia – now
Welcome to South Pacific gem, Huahine in French Polynesia. Where is it and how to get there Huahine is approximately 180 kilometres north-west of Tahiti. Fly to Tahiti with Air Tahiti Nui for approximately $1400 (airtahitinui.com.au) then take a 35-minute flight from $300 return with Air Tahiti (airtahiti.com) Why we love it Huahine is Bora Bora without the tourists… or the $2000-per-night hotel tariffs. Most visitors stopover here on flights to Bora Bora from Papeete; when I visited I was the only tourist who got off the plane. Huahine has one of the smallest populations of French Polynesia’s Society Islands and very little development; although there are several high-end accommodation options. It is the kind of paradise you imagine in Bora Bora: massive jungle-covered mountains roll straight down onto dozens of empty white beaches and a lagoon surrounded entirely by coral reef. Although it is known as the quiet island, there’s still plenty to do. Hire a moped or jeep and explore Huahine’s two islands, Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) and Iti (Little Huahine), which are connected by a bridge. There’s evidence of Huahine’s 1500-year-history throughout the island. There’s Polynesian temples by the roadside – even human skulls if you look hard enough (I found one). There are half-day tours by 4WD, canoe cruises, kayak tours, sailing charters and some of Polynesia’s best surf breaks. There are also tiny villages with rustic bars serving ice-cold beer and fish straight off the fishing boats. Very little English is spoken so be prepared for isolation if your high school French is rusty. You can’t miss Canter a horse along a deserted tropical beach. La Petite Ferme offer two-hour and full-day rides, call +689 6882 98. When to go Avoid summer when heavy rain is prevalent; any time between April and November is best. Where to stay Stay on the shores of a lake in Huahine’s lush interior at the Matai La Pita Village from $320 per night. huahine.hotelmaitai.com   More info: www.TahitiTourisme.com.au
Le Meridien Bora Bora
Five reasons Tahiti is officially heaven on earth
The results are in... and Tahiti's got it in the bag... French Polynesia, as Tahiti is officially known, is flung across an immense stretch of the South Pacific Ocean, so vast that if the French territory was superimposed with a map of Europe it would reach from Russia to the UK.   A beguiling blend of Tahitian and French culture exists right across the country’s 118 islands and atolls. Residents speak French and Tahitian, serve French cuisine along with Polynesian specialties, and resorts incorporate European refinements with laid back South Pacific style. [caption id="attachment_851" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Bora Bora Pearl Resort and Spa[/caption] This intriguing mixture of tropical island culture and French sophistication comes together to form the ideal holiday destination. 1. Unrivalled natural beauty As well as offering its own distinct personality and breathtaking backdrop, each island is home to an intricate natural tapestry and vibrant underwater world teeming with marine life and rhythmical reefs that rise and fall to a natural, island beat. Tahiti’s charm lies not only her in unrivalled beauty, but also in her versatility. Visitors can swim in a turquoise wonderland, whale watch in pristine waters, quad-bike along forested ridge lines, cruise on luxury yachts, indulge in a spa experience, savour wine from a tropical vineyard, shop for a Tahitian pearl, surf one of the world’s best-known breaks or simply relax and do absolutely nothing. 2. It's the perfect place to honeymoon Home to the main island of Tahiti are the ultimate honeymoon destinations of Bora Bora and Moorea – the Society Islands are the best known of Tahiti’s five archipelagos. [caption id="attachment_844" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora.[/caption] Separated into the Leeward and Windward groups, the 15 main islands of the archipelago offer jagged volcanic peaks, electric blue lagoons and an entrancing underwater world.   Nowhere in the world are the colours more vibrant, the waters warmer and the people friendlier.   Tahiti Nui is the largest island in French Polynesia and home to the capital Papeete, the entry point for international visitors. 3. There's more to do than you think An exterior fringed with hotels, museums and the endless lapping of the South Pacific combines with a heart of natural beauty.  Fast-flowing streams meet steep-sided valleys, and soaring volcanic peaks rise into the tropical sky high above lush rainforests of ancient trees that hold centuries of secrets and history in their mossy bark. [caption id="attachment_848" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Stand up Paddle Boarding lessons.[/caption] Also home tahiti trademark over water bungalows, volcanic peaks and palm-fringed lagoons, Moorea is a haven of relaxation and romance. A year-round tropical climate and picture perfect vistas greet visitors throughout the Society Islands.   Hire a scooter, bike or canoe for some great adventure on the charming Garden of Eden island of Huahine, rock Tahiti’s cradle of culture on Raiatea and let the scents of vanilla seduce on Tahaa.   From heavenly beaches with champagne sand and fragrant tropical flowers to iridescent lagoons fringed with soothing palm trees, it’s no wonder Tahiti and her islands offer some of the most coveted holidaying in the world. 4. The food! Sample Polynesian culture and food in this historic port city where some streets resemble a distant suburb of Paris. As in France, it is easy to find creperies, boulangeries, sandwich shops and pizza places, while local supermarkets stock pate, baguettes, cheeses and plenty of French wine. [caption id="attachment_852" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Four Seasons Bora Bora at Sunset.[/caption] A seafood restaurant called Bloody Mary’s has become as famous as the island’s picture perfect blue lagoon. Established in 1976 by Polish immigrant Baron George Van Dangle, the huge thatched hut with its sand floor and coconut-stump stools has a menu of freshly-caught fish described to diners in several different languages.   An impressive roster of celebrities, immortalised on two boards at the entrance, have helped make Bloody Mary’s an integral part of the Bora Bora Experience.   On lush and beautiful Moorea, just half an hour by ferry from Tahiti, a road that hugs the coast is flanked by resorts, hotels and tiny communities offering everything guests need. Some restaurants are located in truly stunning locations where visitors can dine while soaking up million-dollar views. 5. You'll never find more luxurious dwellings [caption id="attachment_850" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Arriving on the Four Seasons transfer boat from the airport[/caption] Bora Bora – The Pearl of The Pacific – is undoubtedly the most famous of Tahiti’s Society Island sand deservedly considered one of the most romantic islands in the world. This breathtakingly beautiful island is located just a short 50-minute flight from the main island of Tahiti. Luxurious overwater bungalows, which have become synonymous with Bora Bora, ring the luminous blue lagoon offering the ultimate in indulgence. [caption id="attachment_854" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora at sunset[/caption] Designed in Polynesian style, the bungalows feature an outstanding level of comfort in a picturesque setting, with special glass panels offering a view to the lagoon floor. The bungalows also provide an ideal platform to watch an unforgettable Polynesian sunset or enjoy an intimate stargazing experience unlike any other. [caption id="attachment_855" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora with Mt Otemanu in the background[/caption] Details Getting There Air Tahiti Nui and Air New Zealand both fly twice weekly via Auckland to Tahiti. Staying There For  most luxurious and comfortable stay, stay with Elegant Resorts and Villas. More Information For more information on Tahiti and Her Islands, visit the Tahiti Tourisme website.

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